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Newtown Schools Bid Farewell To Staff Members

Newtown Schools Bid Farewell To Staff Members

By Nancy K. Crevier

When the school year ended, so too did Cathy Mazzariello’s 25-year career with the Newtown School System. She is one of 20 staff members in the system who was retiring or moving on to other challenges when the 2007 school year came to a close.

“It is with mixed emotions that I leave at the end of this school year,” said Ms Mazzariello, assistant principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School. She has served 25 years at Sandy Hook Elementary School, including one year of substitute teaching. As a staff member at Sandy Hook, she has held the positions of grade 4 teacher, grade 5 teacher, lead teacher, math specialist, and for the past seven years, Ms Mazzariello has served as assistant principal.

Among her career accomplishments, she founded the school newspaper, The Footprint Post, 22 years ago. The paper is still in publication. She has served as BEST school coordinator and as representative to the district. Ms Mazzariello was awarded with the Weller Foundation Outstanding Teacher Award, the State of Connecticut Celebration of Excellence Award, and Recognition by Western Connecticut Superintendents Association for Outstanding Achievement.

“Coming to school each day was never my job; it was always my passion,” said Ms Mazzariello.

Kurt Ryder has taught industrial arts at Newtown High School since 1972. “It has been a wonderful 35 years for me,” said Mr Ryder. “I have seen the school system mature into one of the finest systems in the state of Connecticut, one of the top reasons why people move to Newtown.” It is the people of the town who should be given credit for the progress seen in Newtown schools over the years, Mr Ryder went on to say. “They have supported the initiatives which have improved the educational system, both financially and through their involvement. I thank the people of Newtown and the Board of Education for the privilege of working with the children of Newtown.”

Charlie Brumley will leave the service of Newtown Public Schools having served 20 years as school psychologist. Mr Brumley departs after providing counseling for students of Hawley Elementary School after nine years. The previous 11 years were dedicated to Newtown High School. “It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work in such a fine school district with so many wonderfully talented, dedicated, and caring professionals,” said Mr Brumley. “I leave Newtown with mixed emotions to pursue other career interests.”

Twenty-eight-year veteran of teaching, Spanish instructor Kathy Madzula said, “I have enjoyed my teaching of Spanish at the high school and I am proud to have worked with a dedicated and competent staff. Each day brought a new, special memory.”

The retirees, with a total of more than 400 years experience among them, were honored at a reception prior to the June 19 Board of Education meeting. Besides Ms Mazzariello, Mr Ryder, Ms Madzula, and Mr Brumley, retiring staff members honored were Martha Babbitt, Newtown Middle School science, 18 years; Victoria Bassett, Middle Gate reading, 3 years; Al Beatini, NMS guidance, 26 years; Phyllis Buffa, NMS speech and language, 35 years; Carmelia Cassano, Reed Intermediate School, psychologist-PROBE, 34 years; Neil Culhane, NHS director of guidance, 3 years; Mary Giunti, NHS Italian, 27 years; Kathy Keating, NMS math, 25 years; Nancy Koonce, NMS science, 15 years; Robert McHugh, NHS, social studies, 33 years; Greg O’Loskey, NHS, business education, 36 years; Joan Popovic, Middle Gate Elementary, music, 40 years; Kenneth Royal, Reed Intermediate School, grade 6, 8 years; Josephine Schmidt, Middle Gate School, grade 4, 19 years; Frances Simone, NMS language arts, 28 years; and Patricia Walsh, NHS, business education, department chair, 26 years.

Many of the instructors served Newtown schools in different capacities over their terms of employment.

Newtown also bids farewell this year to longtime head of maintenance Dom Posca, Assistant Superintendent Alice Jackson, and Superintendent Evan Pitkoff. (See related stories.)